Project Tips

How do I get started?

  • Talk to your child and find out their interests.
  • When they ask “why does …” or “how does …” that can become a project your child will want to research and pursue.
  • You can also internet search about science projects.  Example:  www.sciencebuddies.org
  • The best project is not one that is duplicated.  Take a previously performed experiment and change it to make it your own.  Better yet, create something new!
  • Your child’s journey and exploration begins when they pick their project.

What’s involved in doing a project?

  • Research about their topic, use the library, internet, teachers, laboratories — get creative!
  • Start a journal where they track the date, activity, research, testing, testing method, results, when a test is proven, disproven or has unexpected results.  Most importantly, have your child write in their journal about their perspective on the project.  “I thought it would work, but I was surprised when it did this …”    Do not expect their journal to be tidy.  Journals are a chronological diary of research in progress and a combination of thoughts during the process.
  • When the research and testing are complete, design a presentation board and bring it to the Washington State Science and Engineering Fair.

What is the difference between a science project and an engineering project?

A science project proves or disproves a hypothesis (a question).

  • If your project is green, sticky and slimy it must be science …
  • Do the rings around Saturn have ice crystals?   After dark which clothes make you easily seen?  How does noise affect whales?  Where do earthworms hang out when food is around?

An engineering project attempts to make a better machine,  improve a process or create a new design.

  • If it’s bigger, better, faster you are talking engineering …
  • Can roller coaster speeds change by the hill’s slope?  Modify, or design a new video game.  Design a solar powered robot.  How to change a design to make a bridge stronger?